AnimeSuki Forums

Register Forum Rules FAQ Members List Social Groups Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Go Back   AnimeSuki Forum > Anime Discussion > Older Series

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 2012-01-20, 11:42   Link #941
Kazu-kun
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
To be specific: Kazu-kun, you are flat-out wrong to interpret Shinobu's reaction as "comedy effects." This is not a matter of my opinion versus your opinion. There is no evidence within the anime itself that this moment is to be understood comically. Your only evidence is something you read further on in the manga, and not anything at all within the anime itself. Consequently, that material is irrelevant to the anime. It will only ever become relevant should the anime choose to incorporate it, and then that will be since the anime made that decision, and not due to any extrinsic authority or standing the manga has in relation to the anime. At this point the anime has not brought that later material in (and I strongly doubt it will, given the care and detail and focus given to the animation of Shinobu's distress). So that later material from the manga is at this point absolutely irrelevant.
It's done for comedy effects. That's pretty obvious even if you consider the anime alone. But if you want to think it's more important than it really is, be my guest.
__________________
http://forums.animesuki.com/images/as.icon/signaturepics/sigpic39230_3.gif
Kazu-kun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-01-20, 12:42   Link #942
Triple_R
Center Attraction
 
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Newfoundland, Canada
Age: 32
Send a message via AIM to Triple_R
Honestly, the scene where Shinobu repeats Chihaya's name over and over again also struck me as more serious/dramatic/borderline psychotic than comedic. Now, it's possible that the anime will later present that in a comedic light, but for now, it really gave me an impression similar to what hyperborealis took from it.

I will say that if the anime intended viewers to immediately take it as comedic, the overall execution of that bit was pretty badly off, imo.


Anyway, I finally got around to watching Chihayafuru Episode 15. That was another really good episode. It flowed very smoothly, and the time seemed to pass so fast while I was watching it.

I was impressed by how the narrative didn't give Taichi a kind of "consolation win" to kind of "make up for" Chihaya losing. The route chosen here is a bit bolder, and I like how the anime is willing to show the main protagonists losing some matches (and due to the comparative strength between themselves and their opponents, not just because they cracked under pressure).


Shinobu is a very good antagonist and is presented pretty well overall, but yeah, she's kind of crazy. I guess that is a lot of what makes her a fun character, though.


8/10 for Episode 15.
__________________
Triple_R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-01-21, 09:08   Link #943
warita
Dai-Youkai
 
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Vienna
The question why Shinobu was stressing over Chihaya and not the guy she played with last, even though he took more cards from her is, that Shinobu probably instinctively feels the potential Chihaya has and knows that she will be a hard competition to beat in the future. What might have also annoyed her was the fact that Chihaya had the nerve to play to win..... to actually think sh could beat Shinobu. Obviously Shinobu chan is not used to having a mentionable competition.

The scene where repeats Chihayas name forcefully was not comical at all, it looked more like Shinobu developed a disturbing obsession.
warita is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-01-21, 14:44   Link #944
Haak
Haters Gonna Hate
 
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: UK
Age: 23
I thought it was rather comical, especially the way she went completely 180 turn dere dere when Chihaya complemented her shirt. I interpreted it as the story telling us that Shinobu is just as bizarre as Chihaya and they're like peas in a pod (as well as the fact that she now has Chihaya on her radar).
__________________
Haak is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-01-21, 19:24   Link #945
Dawnstorm
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Austria
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haak View Post
I thought it was rather comical, especially the way she went completely 180 turn dere dere when Chihaya complemented her shirt. I interpreted it as the story telling us that Shinobu is just as bizarre as Chihaya and they're like peas in a pod (as well as the fact that she now has Chihaya on her radar).
I could be wrong, but didn't the 180 turn come before Chihaya complimented the T-shirt?

I agree, though, that I thought the point was to make her appear as quirky and socially awkward as Chihaya. But her 180 turn struck me as an act; not necessarily as a two-faced act covering up malice, but perhaps an act to cover up her current confusion.

Chihaya is two things to her, so far: (a) she doesn't give up and force Shinobu to play alone - which is good, and (b) she's a potential threat to her position as Queen, which is not. Add to that the manners of a quirky outsider, and you might just get that turn.

I'm completely unsure whether she has a sadistic streak, or whether she's just turned so inwards that she honestly doesn't know how she comes across. At that point, I can see both paths.

At any point, I think we're seeing what Chihaya could have become if she hadn't had her sister, or Taichi.
Dawnstorm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-01-22, 02:37   Link #946
hyperborealis
Lost at Sea
 
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Sudou understands Wakamiya's smiles as a kind of malice: she pretends a fear of his strength as a karuta player to underline ironically her contempt. You see this interplay after the end of their match, capped with Sudou's resentment.

I'm not sure if Sudou is quite fair in this. Arata can say he would not show mercy to a five year old, but then he is a boy, for whom such aggressiveness is acceptable. Shinobu has to deal with expectations for girls instead, and one can see how her false modesty is a necessary compromise.

In any case Shinobu is perfectly capable of wearing a public mask, such as the false smile she puts on when Chihaya approaches her. She is unlike Chihaya in this regard, if you recall all the times Taichi has to remind her that she's in public.

Chihaya's comment on Shinobu's Snowmaru T-shirt continues the conversation Shinobu had begun during the match when she remarked on Chihaya's Daddy Bear shirt. Shinobu finds herself disarmed, and flustered by Chihaya's response. She had expected presumably some sort of sparring, the war between them carried on in conversation, and got instead something much more personal, a connection to the self behind her public facade. Chihaya's words connect the two of them together, and bring home to Shinobu just how they are alike, young girls with a penchant for cute things.

The anime is not explicit, but my sense is that Shinobu experiences her connection with Chihaya favorably: where during the match she had been illustrated by winter motifs, the animation now frames her with spring flowers, as if to signify a rebirth of her heart. Then, at the close of the episode, where we see Shinobu practicing, she is looking forward to playing Chihaya again, thinking to herself, "until we meet again." Even the cards she takes in practice make this point: one, the 57th, expresses a woman's longing for an absent lover, hidden like the moon behind the clouds; another, the 73rd, expresses the wish there should be no barrier of mist between the poet and distant cherry trees. Both poems suggest fairly clearly Shinobu's longing for Chihaya.

------------

The episode title, "As Though Pearls Have Been Strung Across the Autumn Plains," is taken from the 37th of the Hyakunin Isshu. Here's the University of Virginia translation:

In the autumn fields
When the heedless wind blows by
Over the pure-white dew,
How the myriad unstrung gems
Are scattered everywhere around.

The obvious interpretation is to think of the gems as the various members of the Mizusawa karuta team, scattered in defeat by the stronger winds of their opponents during the tournament.

What makes things more interesting is that the third card Chihaya takes from Shinobu happens to be none other than this very poem. Consequently, I think the title is referring not to Mizusawa's defeat, but contrarily to the cards Chihaya has taken, and the insights she has gained into what it means to be a world-class karuta player. These are the gems or pearls the poem refers to. Here I am thinking of her interior monologue after taking the card about moving freely, about becoming faster and freer, about playing freely despite fear--all of which she connects with being "a strong player."

It is interesting to compare Taichi's insights in this respect with Chihaya's. Taichi envisages a perfect accord between mind and body, a body strong enough to react with the same speed as the mind. For Taichi the body is the vehicle of the mind, the instrument that realizes his remarkable capacity to identify which cards are in play at a given syllable.

Although Chihaya also seeks a stronger body, one that can move faster, her conception is nothing like this. She seems to imagine instead a radical freedom from restraints, a kind of instinctual being, the wildness of a natural force. Like Taichi, she envisages a possibility akin to her individual nature; but their respective characters are nothing alike.

-------------------

"This is the day," Taichi thinks, looking from the stairwell at Chihaya after her match, "the day Chihaya's dream became real." Curious, isn't it, that he is standing on the numeral "2'? Probably just coincidence...

Then there is that odd scene at the end where Chihaya mentions she doesn't dream of Arata. The camera focuses briefly on the back of Taichi's head, as if to gauge his reaction. Chihaya continues, "I want to meet him, and not in my dreams." Meanwhile the animation follows a butterfly outside, as it moves about and then flutters around a semi-transparent image of Arata. Why the butterfly? What is that all about?
__________________
.

A Blossoming Flower in the Snowy Winter

Last edited by hyperborealis; 2012-01-22 at 11:17.
hyperborealis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-01-22, 03:00   Link #947
monir
cho~ kakkoii
*Moderator
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: 3rd Planet
That's a lot of thought went into that post! Enjoyed reading it.
__________________
Eat and sleep! And Solace. Sig by RRW.
Space Brothers Executive member of the ASS. Ready to flee at the first sign of trouble.
monir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-01-22, 04:23   Link #948
Undertaker
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: U.S.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
Then there is that odd scene at the end where Chihaya mentions she doesn't dream of Arata. The camera focuses briefly on the back of Taichi's head, as if to gauge his reaction. Chihaya continues, "I want to meet him, and not in my dreams." Meanwhile the animation follows a butterfly outside, as it moves about and then flutters around a semi-transparent image of Arata. Why the butterfly? What is that all about?
Well, butterfly, in East Asian culture, especially in Japan are often used as symbol for dreams or ideals, often unattainable. While in China, butterflies symbolizes love, usually unrequited love. As such, in modern time, it is widely used as symbols for wandering/passing spirits in ACG.

Considering Chihayafuru isn't a supernatural show, the latter idea is unlikely.

However, if using the more traditional symbolism, it could mean that Chihaya no longer treats Arata as something unreachable or simply as an goal for her and has started to see him as someone/something she can truly reach.
__________________
Undertaker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-01-22, 09:32   Link #949
hyperborealis
Lost at Sea
 
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertaker View Post
Well, butterfly, in East Asian culture, especially in Japan are often used as symbol for dreams or ideals, often unattainable. While in China, butterflies symbolizes love, usually unrequited love. As such, in modern time, it is widely used as symbols for wandering/passing spirits in ACG.

Considering Chihayafuru isn't a supernatural show, the latter idea is unlikely.

However, if using the more traditional symbolism, it could mean that Chihaya no longer treats Arata as something unreachable or simply as an goal for her and has started to see him as someone/something she can truly reach.
Thanks--this fits perfectly with what Chihaya says. I had wondered if the image had any romantic implications, but as far as Chihaya is concerned Chihayafuru is not a romance, so your explanation makes much more sense. The butterfly represents the newly-tangible connection that now exists between Chihaya and Arata, notwithstanding the kilometers that separate them, as the butterfly seems to move from Tokyo to where Arata is in Fukui. Plus the fact that it is a butterfly suggests the transformation of her dream into a reality, just as a pupae develops into the butterfly we see.

Chihayafuru has just one or two supernatural elements, but they're there. I'm impressed that Chihaya makes a point of bowing to the kami of Omi Jingu as the team leaves. I mentioned the cards Shinobu takes in practice: in her practice, Chihaya takes the 24th. This poem speaks of the offering of red leaves the speaker brings to a kami. Perhaps this suggests that Chihaya's practice amounts to an offering to the kami? This might even be likely, since we know from the 17th waka, the Chiahayaburu card, that Chihaya associates the red leaves with herself. Chiahaya is serious about honoring the gods, whether of the shrine or of karuta itself. Conversely, the anime must be serious about the reality of the gods, not then only as objects of honor, but also as factors in life.

Undertaker, Animesuki won't let me add to your reputation. So let me just say, excellent post.
__________________
.

A Blossoming Flower in the Snowy Winter

Last edited by hyperborealis; 2012-01-22 at 11:06.
hyperborealis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-01-22, 13:52   Link #950
Undertaker
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: U.S.
Well, I don't know if that consider as supernatural. The scene in the shrine is a traditional pray for good luck. If anything the teacher had to remind the club about the proper way of praying and Chihaya isn't one one to learn about those things. I mean even now, she is slowing absorbing the culture within Karuta.

As such that I personally think that while Chihaya might not consider Chihayafuru card as romance in the beginning, the poem itself is a love poem. Kanade mentioned that in episode 6 and that once you realizes the background of the the poem, the red leave would symbolizes the yearning and thus makes the card seem red. Besides the background story fit well with what Arata and Chihaya's current situation if you look at romantic angle. While Chihaya might not realizes herself, but I actually think that this card is full of symbolism about Chihaya's potential romantic feeling toward Arata.

BTW, I love you post, before then I just follow the story and skipped the poetry part. But after reading your post I re-read the manga along with anime just to get a better feel on the poems.
__________________
Undertaker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-01-23, 11:02   Link #951
hyperborealis
Lost at Sea
 
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertaker View Post
Well, I don't know if that consider as supernatural. The scene in the shrine is a traditional pray for good luck. If anything the teacher had to remind the club about the proper way of praying and Chihaya isn't one one to learn about those things. I mean even now, she is slowing absorbing the culture within Karuta.
Actually, I'm thinking of the scene in this episode, where Chihaya makes a point of bowing to the kami of Omi Jingu as she is leaving. She doesn't have to do it; her teammates aren't going to do it; but when she bows, they follow her lead. So I think Chihaya has a sense of connection with Omi Jingu, and with the kami. I think this goes beyond the conventional prayer for good luck. Remember the curious flash she experiences when she makes her prayer in the earlier episode? There's something more here, something supernatural I think, which her bowing confirms and which the card she takes in practice relates to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertaker View Post
As such that I personally think that while Chihaya might not consider Chihayafuru card as romance in the beginning, the poem itself is a love poem. Kanade mentioned that in episode 6 and that once you realizes the background of the the poem, the red leave would symbolizes the yearning and thus makes the card seem red. Besides the background story fit well with what Arata and Chihaya's current situation if you look at romantic angle. While Chihaya might not realizes herself, but I actually think that this card is full of symbolism about Chihaya's potential romantic feeling toward Arata.
I see this too, but so far it is 100% potential, and 0% actual. Chihaya does not think in romantic terms at all, not about Taichi and not about Arata. So far the romance is just frustration for Taichi, a tease for the viewers, and precisely nothing at all to Chihaya.

The issue is important, I suppose, as it relates to Taichi and his character development. So we should talk about it. But he's never going to get to first base with Chihaya, just since she's not even in the stadium. She's playing karuta instead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertaker View Post
BTW, I love you post, before then I just follow the story and skipped the poetry part. But after reading your post I re-read the manga along with anime just to get a better feel on the poems.
Thank you! I've been surprised how much the poetry works as a commentary on the story. Also it's been wonderful for me to learn about the poetry and to read it and to think about it. I can see why it's considered basic literary education for Japanese kids. It's very beautiful, very powerful, very lovely.

-------------------------

There are two more places where the cards figure in this episode. One occurs when Chiahaya is dashing to pick up the third card she takes from Shinobu: She looks back, and then a couple other players call out two cards, #20 & #77. That amounts to a shout-out to us to look at the poems, so let's do it.

The 77th we are familiar with--it's "Swift waters parted by jagged rocks." We know the romantic idea Kana attaches to this card, of lovers who eventually will come back together. Here i think it amounts to a promise or a foreshadowing that Chihaya and Shinobu will come together again in the future. This promise relates to Taichi's comment about Chihaya's dream becoming real, and to Chihaya's own statement about how she saw Arata at the nationals, and no longer dreams about him. Chihaya's dream has changed, and now centers not on meeting Arata--that dream has been realized--but rather on meeting Shinobu again.

The 20th card is quite interesting. Here's the jlit.net translation:

It cannot matter
Now that all is in despair--
I must see you
Though I expose myself to ruin
Like the markers in Naniwa Bay.

I take the desperation of this love poem to refer to the risk both girls face in playing each other again--in this context Naniwa Bay alludes to karuta, since that's the hallmark phrase of the traditional prefatory poem before karuta matches. Since only one of them can win, the other must have her hopes dashed, and so be exposed to ruin. Yet both are willing to face this risk, due to their passion for karuta. So the poem speaks of the girls' desire to play each other again, even at the cost of the consequences of losing.

The romantic aspect of both these poems may speak to a deeper connection between the two girls. I don't mean in a yuri sense, but rather in a shared outlook and understanding of each other. I am always struck how Taichi just does not get Chihaya--I wonder if Shinobu instead will be the person who does? They already share a lot of features, as women, as obsessive karuta players, as lovers of cute things, as beauties in vain, and so on. We saw how Chihaya's comment to Shinobu about Snowmaru brought the cherry leaves around Shinobu into bloom--if Chihaya does brings friendship into Shinobu's life, perhaps Shinobu will do the same for her? The two cards together suggest the romance of the series may instead focus on the growing relationship between the two girls.

There's one other place where cards come up, and in this case, literally: I am thinking of the moment when Chihaya is thinking "I still don't understand, / But is that what it means to be a strong karuta player?" Two cards fly up, the 14th and the 98th.

Did you know there is a Shinobu card? The 14th is the Shinobu card! Here's a translation from Mostow:

Please believe I am not one
who thinks to have his feelings stirred,
like cloth imprinted with moss ferns
from the deep north of Michinoku,
by anyone but you.

Here's the romanji:

Michinoku no
Shinobu moji-zuri
Tare yue ni
Midare some ni shi
Ware naranaku ni

Mostow explains: "Shinobu mohji-zuri originally referred to cloth that had been imprinted (zuri) with the design of the moss fern (shinobu; Duvallia bullata). Shinobu is a pivot word: it is both the name of a fern and a verb meaning "to love secretly.""

In the context of the anime, I think the poem refers to the special feelings Shinobu has for Chihaya, due to Chihaya's unique ability to reach her, both as a competitive karuta player, but also as a person. Just on the basis of this card, I find it hard not to imagine that Shinobu is in love with Chihaya. A love mediated by karuta, of course...

The 98th is much less exciting: in it, the poet notes signs of the changing summer season. Ir refers back to a similar poem, the 2nd, which notes in similar language the transition into summer. Just as a guess, I would take the early and the late positions of the two poems to refer to the relative places of the challenger and the champion: in both poems, it is still summer, so the status quo of Shinobu as Queen still continues, but in the 98th, summer is almost gone, and so looks forward, with the changing of the season, to a changing of the guard, and perhaps to Chihaya becoming queen. There's a lot of guesswork in that interpretation, so I don't insist on it.

Now that nationals are over, I wonder how the narrative will go forward?
__________________
.

A Blossoming Flower in the Snowy Winter

Last edited by hyperborealis; 2012-01-23 at 11:14.
hyperborealis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-01-23, 13:27   Link #952
orion
Waiting for more taiyuki!
 
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haak View Post
I thought it was rather comical, especially the way she went completely 180 turn dere dere when Chihaya complemented her shirt. I interpreted it as the story telling us that Shinobu is just as bizarre as Chihaya and they're like peas in a pod (as well as the fact that she now has Chihaya on her radar).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post
I could be wrong, but didn't the 180 turn come before Chihaya complimented the T-shirt?

I agree, though, that I thought the point was to make her appear as quirky and socially awkward as Chihaya. But her 180 turn struck me as an act; not necessarily as a two-faced act covering up malice, but perhaps an act to cover up her current confusion.

Chihaya is two things to her, so far: (a) she doesn't give up and force Shinobu to play alone - which is good, and (b) she's a potential threat to her position as Queen, which is not. Add to that the manners of a quirky outsider, and you might just get that turn.

I'm completely unsure whether she has a sadistic streak, or whether she's just turned so inwards that she honestly doesn't know how she comes across. At that point, I can see both paths.

At any point, I think we're seeing what Chihaya could have become if she hadn't had her sister, or Taichi.
I also thought the 180 was before the compliment. Basically we saw what she really was thinking and then when Chihaya approached her, she put on a front imo.

The chick was pissed that Chihaya got 5 card off her which was prob a lot for a newbie Class A. Really, she prob thought that Chihaya was going to back down like the others and not keep fighting.
__________________
orion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-01-23, 14:29   Link #953
Undertaker
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: U.S.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
I see this too, but so far it is 100% potential, and 0% actual. Chihaya does not think in romantic terms at all, not about Taichi and not about Arata. So far the romance is just frustration for Taichi, a tease for the viewers, and precisely nothing at all to Chihaya.

The issue is important, I suppose, as it relates to Taichi and his character development. So we should talk about it. But he's never going to get to first base with Chihaya, just since she's not even in the stadium. She's playing karuta instead.
True, this reminded me of a discussion I read in a Chinese forum. The romance issue in this series is that Chihaya is too dense, Arata is too shy, and Taichi is too nice.

To change this equilibrium, something or someone would have to get in between this trio, having Chihaya playing a revived Arata might do the tricks.
__________________
Undertaker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-01-23, 16:13   Link #954
Sol Falling
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Age: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
There are two more places where the cards figure in this episode. One occurs when Chiahaya is dashing to pick up the third card she takes from Shinobu: She looks back, and then a couple other players call out two cards, #20 & #77. That amounts to a shout-out to us to look at the poems, so let's do it.

The 77th we are familiar with--it's "Swift waters parted by jagged rocks." We know the romantic idea Kana attaches to this card, of lovers who eventually will come back together. Here i think it amounts to a promise or a foreshadowing that Chihaya and Shinobu will come together again in the future. This promise relates to Taichi's comment about Chihaya's dream becoming real, and to Chihaya's own statement about how she saw Arata at the nationals, and no longer dreams about him. Chihaya's dream has changed, and now centers not on meeting Arata--that dream has been realized--but rather on meeting Shinobu again.

The 20th card is quite interesting. Here's the jlit.net translation:

It cannot matter
Now that all is in despair--
I must see you
Though I expose myself to ruin
Like the markers in Naniwa Bay.

I take the desperation of this love poem to refer to the risk both girls face in playing each other again--in this context Naniwa Bay alludes to karuta, since that's the hallmark phrase of the traditional prefatory poem before karuta matches. Since only one of them can win, the other must have her hopes dashed, and so be exposed to ruin. Yet both are willing to face this risk, due to their passion for karuta. So the poem speaks of the girls' desire to play each other again, even at the cost of the consequences of losing.

The romantic aspect of both these poems may speak to a deeper connection between the two girls. I don't mean in a yuri sense, but rather in a shared outlook and understanding of each other. I am always struck how Taichi just does not get Chihaya--I wonder if Shinobu instead will be the person who does? They already share a lot of features, as women, as obsessive karuta players, as lovers of cute things, as beauties in vain, and so on. We saw how Chihaya's comment to Shinobu about Snowmaru brought the cherry leaves around Shinobu into bloom--if Chihaya does brings friendship into Shinobu's life, perhaps Shinobu will do the same for her? The two cards together suggest the romance of the series may instead focus on the growing relationship between the two girls.

There's one other place where cards come up, and in this case, literally: I am thinking of the moment when Chihaya is thinking "I still don't understand, / But is that what it means to be a strong karuta player?" Two cards fly up, the 14th and the 98th.

Did you know there is a Shinobu card? The 14th is the Shinobu card! Here's a translation from Mostow:

Please believe I am not one
who thinks to have his feelings stirred,
like cloth imprinted with moss ferns
from the deep north of Michinoku,
by anyone but you.

Here's the romanji:

Michinoku no
Shinobu moji-zuri
Tare yue ni
Midare some ni shi
Ware naranaku ni

Mostow explains: "Shinobu mohji-zuri originally referred to cloth that had been imprinted (zuri) with the design of the moss fern (shinobu; Duvallia bullata). Shinobu is a pivot word: it is both the name of a fern and a verb meaning "to love secretly.""

In the context of the anime, I think the poem refers to the special feelings Shinobu has for Chihaya, due to Chihaya's unique ability to reach her, both as a competitive karuta player, but also as a person. Just on the basis of this card, I find it hard not to imagine that Shinobu is in love with Chihaya. A love mediated by karuta, of course...
Brilliant stuff man. Chihaya's relationship with Shinobu (non-yuri though it might be presumed to be) has quickly jumped to near the top of my list of interests in the continuing development of this anime. I'd originally felt that the episode had left us at a terrible cliffhanger by declining to show us Shinobu's reactions to Chihaya after the latter cut straight through Shinobu's public "persona" with the t-shirt comment, but your analysis has shown us that there is a lot of reason to look forward to the ongoing development of their friendship.

That Shinobu card, given the context of their interactions in this episode, is just amazing...

Quote:
Actually, I'm thinking of the scene in this episode, where Chihaya makes a point of bowing to the kami of Omi Jingu as she is leaving. She doesn't have to do it; her teammates aren't going to do it; but when she bows, they follow her lead. So I think Chihaya has a sense of connection with Omi Jingu, and with the kami. I think this goes beyond the conventional prayer for good luck. Remember the curious flash she experiences when she makes her prayer in the earlier episode? There's something more here, something supernatural I think, which her bowing confirms and which the card she takes in practice relates to.
While I think Chihaya does exemplify a reverence for the kami of karuta/the Omi Jingu, which is vital to the story, I wouldn't say that this spirit will bring an element of explicit supernaturalism to this story. In contrast to the West, you could say that religion (despite not necessarily being practiced as an object of solemn or formal worship) is an integral part of Japanese culture such that an understanding and acceptance of Japan's religious concepts is probably part of all Japanese. This can be attributed in part to the fact that Shinto, a full half of the common religious practices in Japan, cannot really be described as a prescriptive religion so much as a collection of traditions, folklore and mythology centred around a polytheistic/animistic conception of "gods". These traditions and mythologies are passed down in Japanese culture not so much as religious practices but rather as a natural part of everyday life.

The spiritual aspect of polytheism simply means that, for a spiritual Japanese, it is possible (under appropriate circumstances) to understand every aspect of life and reality as a result of an act of the gods. I think that in the end Japanese religious/Shintoistic emotion/expressions of this sort can be boiled down to a simple faith or happiness in the good of the world, channelled through a culturally familiar and appropriate medium. Chihaya prays to the karuta no kami because she wishes to honour the game of karuta. However, I think this exemplifies moreso a general spiritualism rather than an especial connection to the god of karuta; and I don't think Chihaya can necessarily be said to be closer to the god of karuta (moreso than other players, at least), except perhaps in the sense of having the potential to (in the future) become a "god of karuta" herself.
__________________
Seasonal enjoyment ratings:
Kill la Kill 75/5 :: Sakura Trick 100/5 :: Saki Zenkoku-hen 100/5 :: HappinessCharge Precure 100/5 :: Mushishi OVA 100/5
Spring:
Stardust Crusaders 100/5 :: Mushishi S2 100/5 :: Akuma no Riddle: 20/5 :: Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san 15/5 :: Gochiusa 28/5 :: Soul Eater NOT! 20/5
God-tier yuri oneshot mangaka: Minase Ruruu
Yuri Precure otaku manga: Shinozaki-san ki wo ota shika ni
Great shoujo manga: Last Game
Sol Falling is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-01-23, 18:31   Link #955
hyperborealis
Lost at Sea
 
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sol Falling View Post
I'd originally felt that the episode had left us at a terrible cliffhanger by declining to show us Shinobu's reactions to Chihaya after the latter cut straight through Shinobu's public "persona" with the t-shirt comment, but your analysis has shown us that there is a lot of reason to look forward to the ongoing development of their friendship.

That Shinobu card, given the context of their interactions in this episode, is just amazing...
I wouldn't go to the bank on the poetry interpretation, now. We still don't know where the writers are going to take Chihaya and Shinobu's relationship. But, yes, the Shinobu card did blow me away. It's impossible that the writers not know about this; the choice of Shinobu's name has got to be as motivated as the choice of Chihaya's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sol Falling View Post
While I think Chihaya does exemplify a reverence for the kami of karuta/the Omi Jingu, which is vital to the story, I wouldn't say that this spirit will bring an element of explicit supernaturalism to this story. In contrast to the West, you could say that religion (despite not necessarily being practiced as an object of solemn or formal worship) is an integral part of Japanese culture such that an understanding and acceptance of Japan's religious concepts is probably part of all Japanese. This can be attributed in part to the fact that Shinto, a full half of the common religious practices in Japan, cannot really be described as a prescriptive religion so much as a collection of traditions, folklore and mythology centred around a polytheistic/animistic conception of "gods". These traditions and mythologies are passed down in Japanese culture not so much as religious practices but rather as a natural part of everyday life.

The spiritual aspect of polytheism simply means that, for a spiritual Japanese, it is possible (under appropriate circumstances) to understand every aspect of life and reality as a result of an act of the gods. I think that in the end Japanese religious/Shintoistic emotion/expressions of this sort can be boiled down to a simple faith or happiness in the good of the world, channelled through a culturally familiar and appropriate medium. Chihaya prays to the karuta no kami because she wishes to honour the game of karuta. However, I think this exemplifies moreso a general spiritualism rather than an especial connection to the god of karuta; and I don't think Chihaya can necessarily be said to be closer to the god of karuta (moreso than other players, at least), except perhaps in the sense of having the potential to (in the future) become a "god of karuta" herself.
Thank you for this--you definitely have a better grasp on this aspect of Japanese culture than I do. So let me just ask you some questions I have. When Arata's grandfather talks about the kami of karuta whispering the card in his ear, that's a figure of speech, right? but it is also an explanation to young Arata's question, which is, why are you so good? So, how is the figure of speech answering this question, unless it has some sort of real meaning? I don't quite get that. And doesn't it mean that some people (Ojiisan, Chihaya) are closer to the kami of karuta than others?

The other question I have is, what do we understand about Chihaya in contrast to the other members of the team that she thinks to bow to the shrine as they are leaving? What does that tell us about her? Or about the way she thinks about Shinto and kamis and everything? And why does she bow, anyway? Everybody else is fine on just leaving, but she makes this point of bowing. Why? to what purpose? You are saying she is honoring the game of karuta here? And she is expressing a sense of faith or happiness in the good of the world, in the instance of the last few days of playing at the nationals--there's no resentment at losing or anything. OK, I can see that. Well, then, does her bowing mean she is more attuned than the others to issues such as honoring karuta, that she has a greater sensitivity to the good of the world? Anyway, I should stop floundering and let you try to make sense of this...
__________________
.

A Blossoming Flower in the Snowy Winter
hyperborealis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-01-23, 21:02   Link #956
Dawnstorm
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Austria
Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
But, yes, the Shinobu card did blow me away. It's impossible that the writers not know about this; the choice of Shinobu's name has got to be as motivated as the choice of Chihaya's.
Agreed. Great catch. (I always enjoy your posts, though I tend to have little to say on that topic.)

Quote:
When Arata's grandfather talks about the kami of karuta whispering the card in his ear, that's a figure of speech, right? but it is also an explanation to young Arata's question, which is, why are you so good? So, how is the figure of speech answering this question, unless it has some sort of real meaning? I don't quite get that. And doesn't it mean that some people (Ojiisan, Chihaya) are closer to the kami of karuta than others?
I have a take on this.

The answer is "intuition": karuta moves so fast, that you often can't rely on conscious thought. So you train your intuition. You don't necessarily know how you do what you do - much of it is learning by doing. (There are different approaches; more of that later.) Thus, you can't communicate a technique, but you can communicate an attitude. What this means is that to work up an intuition, you dedicate yourself to the game, you worship it, you become it. The payback is personified into a "kami sama".

Note that it's possible that for Arata's grandfather, this actually translates into "hearing a voice" (I doubt it, because the speed involved often doesn't allow for the time it takes to actually "speak".) If so, who's to say that these sorts of gods don't exist? But even if Arata's grandfather actually believes in the Karuta God (as an independent being that does such things as whisper cards to dedicated players), the point is still to communicate an attitude. As such, it doesn't really matter, whether a spiritual realm is involved or not.

Take for example Chihaya's hearing. She often moves before the first syllable is even spoken. This seemed like an almost mystical quality for a while until... Harada sensei explained that she picks up on the readers quirks and reacts to them. Chihaya is a very intuitive player; I doubt she could have explained it herself. Translate that situation to Arata's grandfather, and you could well get kami talk.

Harada sensei is more the observing and analytical type. This is why he seems to communicate so well Taichi, who's style goes also more in this direction. I can't remember Harada sensei ever talking about things like the god of karuta (and if he did, I'd probably suspect good-natured irony).

Closer to karuta? I have no idea what that means, really. On that, you'll have to draw your own conclusions.

Quote:
Well, then, does her bowing mean she is more attuned than the others to issues such as honoring karuta, that she has a greater sensitivity to the good of the world? Anyway, I should stop floundering and let you try to make sense of this...
Again, I'm not sure what it means to be "more attuned to issues such as honoring karuta". First, Chihaya is pretty intuitive. Second, she's pretty impressionable. Such gestures simply add to the fun of karuta, much like the poems did when introduced by Kanna. She's pretty childlike in that sense. To her, this is probably a farewell gesture, some sort of closure. Chihaya, I think, inhabits a twighlight zone between seriousness and playfulness that's very hard to explain.

As for the group dynamics, that is so Chihaya. "None of us won anything, but wasn't it fun? We'll come again, won't we?" Among the club, she's pretty much the best at dealing with losing. It's a challenge; it's what makes the game. What's the point of wanting to win if it comes easy?

Chihaya was closing off the nationals with the same ritual, with which she started it. But now she's seen how many people there are, and she's met people (the Queen) who are really good. It's a way to wind down, to say it's over - but only for now. She tends to take these things in and appropriate them.

Maybe she is more attuned to these things. (On a secondary note, this might be a good place to point out that they first met the Queen at the shrine. And she went there alone; no peer pressure.)
Dawnstorm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-01-23, 23:57   Link #957
Sol Falling
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Age: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
Thank you for this--you definitely have a better grasp on this aspect of Japanese culture than I do. So let me just ask you some questions I have. When Arata's grandfather talks about the kami of karuta whispering the card in his ear, that's a figure of speech, right? but it is also an explanation to young Arata's question, which is, why are you so good? So, how is the figure of speech answering this question, unless it has some sort of real meaning? I don't quite get that. And doesn't it mean that some people (Ojiisan, Chihaya) are closer to the kami of karuta than others?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawnstorm View Post
I have a take on this.

The answer is "intuition": karuta moves so fast, that you often can't rely on conscious thought. So you train your intuition. You don't necessarily know how you do what you do - much of it is learning by doing. (There are different approaches; more of that later.) Thus, you can't communicate a technique, but you can communicate an attitude. What this means is that to work up an intuition, you dedicate yourself to the game, you worship it, you become it. The payback is personified into a "kami sama".

Note that it's possible that for Arata's grandfather, this actually translates into "hearing a voice" (I doubt it, because the speed involved often doesn't allow for the time it takes to actually "speak".) If so, who's to say that these sorts of gods don't exist? But even if Arata's grandfather actually believes in the Karuta God (as an independent being that does such things as whisper cards to dedicated players), the point is still to communicate an attitude. As such, it doesn't really matter, whether a spiritual realm is involved or not.
I don't stray too far from Dawnstorm's thoughts on this. Regarding the answer from Arata's grandfather to that question, I don't think those words are literal so much as to convey (indeed) an attitude, perhaps of (spiritual) receptivity. In the sense that Arata's grandfather was suggesting "there are no shortcuts/tricks to becoming good at karuta; my skill arises from a special spiritual connection with the god of the game", he might have been suggesting that only dedication and a long life of love/commitment to the game could develop one's abilities. Alternatively, as a piece of advice encouraging Arata, I don't think grandpa could've been saying concretely to listen for "whispers from the karuta no kami" so much as to open himself up to the game and the experience, always staying receptive for whatever lessons he could learn from it.

On that level you could perhaps say that those who always keep themselves open to the experience of karuta are closest to the game. This would be in contrast to preoccupations like the need or desire for victory, self-directed pride/prestige, antipathy towards one's opponents, etc. The ones most likely to experience karuta spiritually (on any level) are probably those who play out of sheer love for it. But that is just something natural, I feel, and not something that requires any explicit supernatural elements.

Quote:
The other question I have is, what do we understand about Chihaya in contrast to the other members of the team that she thinks to bow to the shrine as they are leaving? What does that tell us about her? Or about the way she thinks about Shinto and kamis and everything? And why does she bow, anyway? Everybody else is fine on just leaving, but she makes this point of bowing. Why? to what purpose? You are saying she is honoring the game of karuta here? And she is expressing a sense of faith or happiness in the good of the world, in the instance of the last few days of playing at the nationals--there's no resentment at losing or anything. OK, I can see that. Well, then, does her bowing mean she is more attuned than the others to issues such as honoring karuta, that she has a greater sensitivity to the good of the world? Anyway, I should stop floundering and let you try to make sense of this...
My principle point regarding Shintoism as a natural part of the Japanese identity/consciousness was that none (or rather, very few, I guess) of them probably think of Shinto or kamis in any real/concrete or formal context. As the belief systems are largely folklore and the practices largely traditions, you could not, I would say, generally identify most Japanese as actual proponents of Shintoism. However, Shintoism (as tradition) having laid something of a conceptual spiritual framework for virtually all Japanese at some point in their upbringing, I think that those familiar customs/habits form a convenient default channel for any of their spiritual experiences. That is to say, when Japanese are feeling spiritual, they express it via the loosely organized, easily adapted, polytheistic traditions of Shintoism. So, in the context of how we can analyze Chihaya's bow to the kami of karuta at the end of the national tournament, I will first say that in general terms I don't believe Chihaya is any more religious or spiritual than the average Japanese person (or any of her teammates).

But that is just a bit of further clarification of my earlier statements. As for why Chihaya at that moment bowed, felt spiritual at that juncture specifically, I think that you could indeed say that it was because she wanted to honour (or more accurately, give thanks to) the game/god of karuta. As you suggest, there would probably have been some fallout/negative feelings still lingering about being defeated so bitterly. Although experiencing/accepting that failure was/will be something important for their future growth, there would still have been something ill-omened, in a sense, about departing with such a sullen atmosphere. I think that, by turning around and bowing, Chihaya was essentially reminding herself and everyone else that, while improvement and growth are valuable, enjoyment and love for the game itself are still the most important thing. By paying respect and giving thanks to the god of karuta, Chihaya was protecting the original spirit of their love for karuta that brought them there in the first place.

In the end, I actually do believe that Chihaya is someone who is closest to the heart of karuta. I just don't think that that is by virtue of some connection with an external force or specific spiritual embodiment of karuta.
__________________
Seasonal enjoyment ratings:
Kill la Kill 75/5 :: Sakura Trick 100/5 :: Saki Zenkoku-hen 100/5 :: HappinessCharge Precure 100/5 :: Mushishi OVA 100/5
Spring:
Stardust Crusaders 100/5 :: Mushishi S2 100/5 :: Akuma no Riddle: 20/5 :: Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san 15/5 :: Gochiusa 28/5 :: Soul Eater NOT! 20/5
God-tier yuri oneshot mangaka: Minase Ruruu
Yuri Precure otaku manga: Shinozaki-san ki wo ota shika ni
Great shoujo manga: Last Game

Last edited by Sol Falling; 2012-01-24 at 04:18. Reason: grammar...
Sol Falling is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-01-24, 04:03   Link #958
Undertaker
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: U.S.
I agree with Sol Falling.

My understanding of Shintoism is that similar to the Chinese's religion (or Korean). It is a really messy system where almost every element or object to even past heroes were consider to have it's own deity. Simply put, one area's youkai could very well be another area's kami and one area's villain is another area's protector.


In China this leads to creation of Taoism as a religion when originally it was a dominant school of thought similar to Confucianism, except compare to numerous Taoist thinkers being deified, Confucious was the only one from Confucianism. That leads to more Taoist temples and many non-related temples being associated with it and eventually merged.

In any case, the act has become more of a tradition then an actual, consensual believe system that people practices.
__________________
Undertaker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-01-24, 14:20   Link #959
sikvod00
Senior Member
 
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Homestead, FL
Age: 27
Don't get too excited about this episode. Apparently it's a recap with some funny comic stuff. Definitely still worth watching.
sikvod00 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-01-24, 15:08   Link #960
LKK
Moderator
*Moderator
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Virginia, USA
Age: 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by sikvod00 View Post
Don't get too excited about this episode. Apparently it's a recap with some funny comic stuff. Definitely still worth watching.
I thought it was worth watching.
By the way, if you're someone who normally stops watching at or during the ED, you may want to stick around to the very end this time.
__________________

Avatar: Hazuki of Natsuyuki Rendezvous / Signature: flowers from Natsuyuki Rendezvous
My manga list | My anime DVD list
LKK is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
josei, madhouse

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:22.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
We use Silk.